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Parshat HaShidduchim:  Watering the Camels

11/14/2022 03:25:25 PM


Rabbi Rudin

This week's Parsha focuses on continuity.  With the death of our Mother Sarah, the viability of the Jewish project comes into doubt.  Isaac, bereft of his mother, alienated from his father by the debacle of the Binding of Isaac, lives as a lost soul with his half-brother Yishmael.  His father Abraham, following the Prophecy he received, sends his greatest student, Eliezer, to seek a match for his estranged son.

Eliezer, reaching the land Haran, the home of Abraham's clan, at the head of a caravan of ten camels stops and offers a strange prayer:  G-d of my master Abraham- may the young woman who offers me water but also offers to water the camels be the one intended for Isaac.

And so it is.  Eliezer asks for a sip of water from the lovely young woman.  Such a small request: who wouldn't give a jug of water to a thirsty traveler?  But then, she returns to the well time after time to bring water for the great beasts, laden with cargo.  Ten camels can drink a lot of water, but Rebecca does not stint and only stops drawing water when the creatures are sated.

Eliezer approaches one of the camels and opens its pack, drawing fantastic treasures: necklaces and braclets of gold and silver. Gently he affixes them to Rebecca's arm and around her neck and says: you are the one.  And she is.  Great Prophet, matriarch, Mother of All Israel- Mother Rebecca, Rivka Imenu, mother of us all. 

There is a Kabbalistic belief that reading this parsha and intending it to help someone seeking their Beshert, their intended will start the wheels moving..   

Why?  Perhaps because the secret of making it work in your special relationship is to provide water not just when asked but to not forget to water the camels too--- to think about the needs of the one you love and, even if it means going back to the well over and over again, doing not what is asked, but what your lover's heart knows is needed.  Shabbat Shalom-


Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784